NASA's Apollo 8 mission to orbit the moon was a tremendous achievement in 1968, and it gave us one of the most iconic photographs in the history of human space exploration — Earthrise.
Using data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA has recreated the moment for the 45th anniversary of the historic event. The video reconstruction they released today is complete with computer renderings of the space capsule and overlaid with actual recordings of what Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders were saying at the time:
It's sights like this one that inspired people to strive for space then, and it really should still inspire us now — not only to continue our robotic explorations of the solar system, but also to expand out from Earth ourselves. There are many problems with the world that can be solved (or at least improved) by pushing out into the solar system — crowding and overpopulation, food and water supply issues, and resource shortages. The technological advances that we develop in the process will certainly be of great value to us as well.
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has been saying for a few years now that we need to leave the Earth, just to ensure our continued survival. However, beyond that, the efforts to achieve that goal may bring us all together like never before, putting aside our national, political and even religious differences, to make the effort for the good of humanity.
A lofty goal, perhaps, but those are the ones worth shooting for.
(Photo and video courtesy: NASA)
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